What is a disability?

 Swimming has 10 classifications for athletes with different physical impairments, plus three more for visual impairments and one for athletes with intellectual deficits. For that reason it is particularly prone to challenges, and swimmers say they sometimes suspect that athletes have not been classified correctly.

Three weeks before she was set to compete in the London Paralympics, Mallory Weggemann, an American swimmer who is paralyzed from the waist down, learned that officials from the International Paralympic Committee had questions about her level of ability and were requiring her to submit to reclassification in London.

And this:

The most notorious example of Paralympic classification manipulation took place at the 2000 Games in Sydney. The Spanish men’s intellectual disability basketball team was stripped of its gold medal after it emerged that many of its members were not intellectually disabled at all.

After that, mentally disabled athletes were barred from the Paralympics while officials revised the classification process; they are back again this year.

The athletes say they sympathize with the difficulties faced by the classifiers, who are forced to determine how to sort people who have several hundred different types and degrees of disability.

There is more here, interesting throughout and yet also more interesting than the article itself as well.


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